Several years ago, my family and I spent a weekend in November with special friends in Yosemite National Park. The crisp, winter air mingled with our warm breath in puffs of frozen vapor. Every majestic evergreen tree seemed to stretch up in an effort to pierce the white clouds in homage of the Creator of all beautiful things.
Saturday afternoon faded to evening. We gathered wood for a crackling, cozy fire, sipped some good wine, prepared dinner and enjoyed the rest of the first night indoors. We attended Sunday morning Mass at Our Lady of Sierra Parish in Oakhurst. Later that day, we decided to take a casual hike on one of the nearby trails and explore our surroundings. The snow had yet to begin falling. We were on a trail that seemed well traveled and safe enough for everyone. We discovered a beautiful waterfall and descended another path to the pool at the bottom. After posing for some photos, we climbed back up to the trail and continued our hike.
It was just around the bend that the trail narrowed to about two feet. Mom was in front with our daughter in the middle as I watched everyone from behind. My words, “be careful girls,” were immediately followed by the most horrifying moment that any parent can imagine. Our baby lost her footing on the slippery soil. We were about thirty feet up looking straight down a certain deadly drop. I recall watching her knitted blue and gray tassel hat tumble through the air in slow motion to the rocky bottom. I don’t remember lunging to catch her but that’s exactly what happened. It was as though I was pushed through time. I found myself desperately holding on to our precious gift from God with one hand by the hood of her winter coat. She dangled with her hands and feet outstretched and frozen between heaven and earth – between mortality and eternity. Had we not insisted, against her objections, that the coat be fully zipped, our little girl would have slipped out of her “life jacket” and fallen out of our earthly embrace. I pulled her up to safety with a single adrenaline-pumped, grace-filled yank!
Fear and terror rushed through and passed. We collapsed and held each other as our tears fell in bittersweet streams of indescribable joy, wordless praise and thanksgiving. With the resilience of a normal six-year-old, our daughter cried for a few more seconds and decided she wanted to continue the hike. She had one personal request: “Can we just not talk about this anymore?” The trail just ahead was wide and very family-friendly. We stopped at a beautiful vista, snapped a few more photos and returned holding hands the entire way back.
Weeks later, I was hanging my daughter’s coat and was so thankful to see the Miraculous Medal that I pinned on the inside pocket long before our memorable walk in the park.
The moral of this unembellished testimony is consecrate yourself and entrust your family to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And as Dr. Ray Guarendi, renowned Catholic clinical psychologist, author and talk-radio host, says at the end of each broadcast, “Walk with God and hold your kids real tight by the hand.”
Originally published on Catholic Exchange, July 23, 2004 in Parenting & Family
Visit www.consecration.com to learn more about Marian consecration
Copyright 2011 Brian Kravec